Just recently Mark Pritchard, senior consultant at Ungerboeck Software International, held a great educational webinar on “Winning Strategies for Convention Centers.”
In his session, he illustrated how convention centers can make use of challenges and trends in the industry in order to attract customers and maximize utilization of their facilities. He gave insight into how competitive advantages can help convention centers position themselves in the market and presented some best-practice examples showing how some of the most successful venues manage to pursue a winning business strategy.
Act like a chameleon…
Venues are pressured to be profitable and meet the expectations of their investors, none of whom want to see an empty convention center. Venue managers need to nurture the relationships with their stakeholders and strive to provide positive reports about the convention center’s performance.
While it is vital to assure the constant utilization of facilities, they also face strong international competition and are constantly negotiating with event managers who ask for more space for less money. Furthermore, environmental aspects and sustainable event management play an increasingly important role for venues, adding yet another level of accountability.
Clearly today’s venue managers need to be very adaptable in their role and respond to a lot of demands and challenges as they have a wide variety of stakeholders to appease. Their roles require them to be very flexible – very chameleon-like.
…but don’t blend in too much
With an ever-growing number of venues and strong competition all over the world, it is increasingly hard for convention centers to stand out from the crowd. Modern, successful venues often attract customers through distinct competitive advantages, such as facility design, marketing and promotion packages, technology offerings or proximity to hotels and other amenities like restaurants, etc.
An impressive example to note with regard to technology is the SwissTech Convention Center (STCC) Lausanne. Thanks to state-of the art technology it can be transformed from a 3,000-seat amphitheater to a 1,800sqm banquet hall in no time. The agility of the convention center allows the venue to offer different kinds of spaces and therefore accommodate different types of events.
5 ways to adapt & stand out
In his webinar, Pritchard offered the following 5 ways convention centers can simplify the act of accommodating their many stakeholders while differentiating:
- Make use of big data: Working with professional CRM software simplifies this process
- Look for innovative revenue streams: Consider extending your services, e.g. by acting as a PCO or CVB and organizing your own events
- Consider value-add technology: Look into online tools and mobile devices to help bolster your offering
- Make your venue sustainable: Identify as many ways as possible to deliver green events
- Get active on social media: Catch the attention of event and meeting planners in the social space
Interested to learn more? Watch the full recording of the webinar Winning Strategies for Convention Centers or learn more about Ungerboeck Software for Convention and Exhibition Centers.